Simply Food: Christmas Cucumbers

This Christmas has snuck up on the Monros. We spent last weekend in California in 80-degree weather. Christmas did not feel like it was near. We went back to Las Vegas where the warm weather continued to hover around the 70s. Then, I went back to California to help a friend with a court case. I returned Friday to discover that Christmas break began for the kids. Daphne said, “We are on winter break.” I looked at her puzzled. I said, “Wow, I guess you are.”

We don’t have lights on the house, a tree, decorations or presents yet. We are known to be last minute people, but this is taking it to the extreme. We told a couple of our friends that we would like to have a group over to our house for dinner on Christmas Eve. One of our friends, Brandy, protested and said we should do it at her house instead. She said, “This house has no sign of Christmas whatsoever.” I agreed with her assessment. We will party at Brandy’s then. This house doesn’t feel festive. I would have done a little decorating, but now I don’t have to.

Don’t get me wrong. We love Christmas. I think maybe we went crazy having a huge week-long Thanksgiving and hosting a party for about 30 people and Christmas just crept up too soon after we finally got ourselves organized.

Today, we took the kids out to lunch at this cute little old-fashioned restaurant called Bonnie Springs. We love it there. It’s dark and wood-lined inside. Dollars are stapled all over the low hanging ceiling with wishes written on them. Peacocks walk around the building and let us get really close. A group of female birds walked right up to Daphne. We are pretty sure they thought she was one of them with her bright blue hair. Ducks swim in the pond outside along with the turtles.

We sat down and ate lunch. Afterwards, as we stood up from the table to walk out, the waitress said, “Happy Holidays.” We all looked at each other and said, “Oh yeah!” Luckily none of us really mind that we haven’t gotten into the holiday spirit just yet. I don’t have much more time to waste.

I need to go out and get the kids some presents, at the very least. Last night, we went to a party at Haleakala’s house. Yes, her name is Haleakala and she won’t let you call her anything else. Claud calls her Heather Locklear for fun because it sort of rhymes with his English accent. She is a close friend of ours. I asked her what I should bring to the party.

At first she said, “Could you bring some wine? I don’t know if you will like the cheap stuff I bought.” I wondered what she thinks I drink? I drink pretty inexpensive stuff. I look for the different wines in the $10 range and pick the prettiest label. I told her I would bring some wine. Then, later in the day, she texted again asking, “Could you bring a salad? I am worried I won’t have enough vegetable stuff for you, Daphne and Jack.” I responded with, “Let me get this straight, you would like me to bring my wine and my dinner to the party?” We both laughed. I knew I wouldn’t hurt her feelings. I didn’t mind bringing wine and salad anyway.

In fact, I also made Christmas cucumbers to bring. I call them Christmas cucumbers because they are green and red and look festive. It took me ten minutes to whip these little devils up. I combined feta and cream cheese with a little salt, pepper and lemon. You can use whatever type of cheese you want and combine it with cream cheese to blend it into a creamy texture. If you don’t like feta, use jack or cheddar or whatever your heart desires. I love feta cheese. I sliced up the cucumbers, put a bit of the cheese mixture on top, added a leaf of cilantro and topped it with a kalamata olive. You could also use basil instead of cilantro and tomato instead of an olive. Get creative and use what you like.

The only important part is that you stay with the green and red theme, if you will be bringing them to a Christmas party. Place them on a nice tray and voila, you have a nice appetizer to bring to a dinner party. These are so easy to throw together at the last minute. Like if it’s one of those times where you’ve forgotten it’s almost Christmas.

Once we arrived to Haleakala’s house, I placed my spinach and berry salad down along with the cucumbers and the wine I brought on the counter next to the rest of the food. I looked around. She made a beautiful vegetable lasagna, roasted chicken and beef stroganoff. I also noticed her wines were identical to the wines I always buy. I said, “Haleakala, how could this not be enough? That lasagna looks amazing.”

Turns out, it was amazing. Her lasagna was out of this world. It was filled with tons of vegetables and tasted incredible. I ate a huge piece. She came up to me afterward and said, “That wasn’t ricotta cheese in there. That was tofu.” I could not believe it. I really thought it was ricotta cheese. What a great idea!

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